Building mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation among Jews, Catholics, and all people of good will by providing opportunities for interfaith education and dialogue.

The year 1965 marked a sea change in the Roman Catholic Church’s relationship with the world’s religions, especially Judaism and Islam. Through the promulgation of the declaration Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), the Church sought to “acknowledge, preserve, and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, together with their social life and culture.”

That was why in 1997, a group of like-minded clergy, academics, and lay people founded the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS). For nearly two decades, the CCJS has played an important role in Catholic-Jewish relations. In an attempt to carry forward the vision of Nostra Aetate, the CCJS seeks to advance scholarship in comparative theological studies with attention to Catholic-Jewish studies in particular, and to the Abrahamic traditions in general. The Center engages Saint Leo faculty and students through visiting scholar and research programs, interfaith dialogues, guest lectures, and scholarships. Indeed, the Center plays a key part in Saint Leo University’s role as a leading Catholic teaching university of international consequence. This is because the CCJS equips graduates to thoughtfully engage the significant challenges presented by the interreligious context of the 21st century. In addition, the CCJS also facilitates numerous interfaith dialogues and lectures for community leaders in the greater Tampa Bay area. Located in deChantal Hall 131 on the Saint Leo University campus, CCJS is the only organization of its kind in the Southeast.